Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Sensitive land included in billionaire's successful bid

American billionaire vineyard owner Bill Foley. Photo / Mark Mitchell
American billionaire vineyard owner Bill Foley. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A deal for American billionaire Bill Foley to take over NZX-listed The New Zealand Wine Company has been approved.

The Overseas Investment Office allowed his tilt for up to 90 per cent of the business, which owns Marlborough vineyards and produces wine under the Vavasour, Goldwater, Clifford Bay and Dashwood labels.

Under the application approved on August 15 and just released, Foley gets control of 149ha of land deemed sensitive for $48.1 million. He is then able to expand his interests here, which already include the luxurious Wairarapa lodge Wharekauhau.

Via solicitor Cathy Quinn of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Foley made a case for the wine deal being approved, saying he would create and retain jobs, increase export receipts, add market competition and productivity, make available additional investment for development purposes, increase processing of primary products and offer to gift a riverbed to the Crown.

"The overseas investment transaction will result in a merger of the businesses of The New Zealand Wine Company and Foley Family Wines NZ," the office said.

"This merger will provide access to the application's distribution networks in the United States and elsewhere and to further capital to secure current business operations and facilitate future growth of the merged businesses."

- NZ Herald

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